About Varina Anne “Winnie” Davis
Varina Anne Davis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson Davis, was born in 1865 during the last year of the Civil War in the Confederate White House. Her father was the President of the Confederate States at the time of her birth. She was named for her mother and was the youngest of the Davis children. She was called "Winnie" for most of her life; a pet name Jefferson had first given his wife and then his daughter. According to what she was told as a child, "Winnie" was an Indian name meaning "bright or sunny".
When the Civil War was finally over, President Davis became a prisoner. Baby Winnie was the only one of the children allowed to accompany Mrs. Davis on her visit to the prison to see her husband. Soon after this, Winnie was sent to visit relatives in Canada, where she remained until Mr. Davis was settled in Memphis, Tennessee.
Winnie received most of her early education at home from her mother in the post-Civil War years. At the age of twelve, Winnie was taken to Europe, where she was enrolled in a boarding school in Karlsruhe, Germany.